Spring is almost here, and it's a great time to clean out your closets. Leaders of one organization say they need your gently used clothes and home goods now more than ever. And, your donations could help turn around someone's life.
Larry McLachlan says it’s a miracle he’s standing in front of a group sharing his story. During a speech, he said, "I could last on parole 2,3 years and then what would happen? They'd come through the door. I'd have too much marijuana so I could supply my habit, and then once again back in the penitentiary."
McLachlan says he spent about a decade behind bars for drug related charges. But, in April 2005 he got out and walked through the doors of The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center. He says, “I didn't believe I could really change who I was, but I didn't have any choice but to try."
McLachlan is now the program's director. He helps other men kick their addictions. He says, “Basically I'm mentoring. And, I'm kind of walking them through accepting the shortcomings and sometimes you take a step back, but that's part of the journey in this life."
About 50 men are currently going through the five step program, which takes about six months to complete. They live at the downtown Des Moines facility. They attend counseling, classes and work therapy. Major Timothy Miller says, "A person can come in here off the streets. It doesn't cost anything for a person to be in the program."
Major Miller says the program is funded by The Salvation Army's four metro thrift stores. But, there's a problem this year. The number of men in the program has doubled, and donations are down considerably. He says, "That's hurting us right now. "
Miller goes on to say, "We're looking for anything we can resell in our stores that's still useable and still in good condition."
The goal is to help more men like McLachlan turn their lives around. He says, "I took it and ran with it. And, I use my life now for the guys coming in, that it's possible. If anything I've learned from the mistakes I've made is you too, you know, can do this."
Last year, The Salvation Army's thrift stores made $1.6 million. The goal is to raise more than $2 million this year. You can drop off donations at any thrift store, or call The Salvation Army to arrange a pick up.